Geeks and fast cars have gone together ever since the first young coder made a million developing computer games. However, it takes a true nerd to build a car capable of breaking the land speed record and hitting 1050 miles per hour. A team of true nerds, and a whole lot of technology, in fact.
The launch of the Bloodhound Education Programme this week sees 1.5 million students join that team, with access to the world class research and development behind the car including real world case studies and curriculum materials based on the jet and rocket powered beast. One recent study by the National Foundation for Educational Research concluded that Bloodhound provided a real 'hook' to get kids interested in science and engineering technology, which has to be a good thing.
The full size show car was unveiled for the first time at the Farnborough Air Show on Monday, and represented a 1:1 scale replica of the car that will make the record breaking attempt. The result of three years of aerodynamic study, the car is longer than four Minis parked end-to-end at 12.8 metres.
Intel were involved in this research through the provision of super-computing power to aid the Computational Fluid Dynamics involved. The Bloodhound aerodynamic team ended up generating generated millions of mathematical equations in order to determine how air around the car would react as accelerated to the maximum design speed of 1,050 mph. This data allowed them to design the shape that would be stable at supersonic speeds, as well as controllable at a sub-sonic velocity.
The Bloodhound folk have even developed an immersive simulation so you can experience driving the ultimate racing car, powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and graphics delivered by a Gamebryo Lightspeed game engine normally seen in ultra-realistic military training simulators.
That said, last week the Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine that will be used during the land speed record-attempts successfully completed a rigorous test session. Having completed its life as a development engine for the Typhoon programme, the 1.5 tonne engine is now on loan to the Bloodhound Programme. “Seeing our EJ200 run on the test bed was an amazing sight, and marks a significant milestone in the development of Bloodhound SSC.” Said Mark Chapman, Chief Engineer, “There's a feeling in the team that everything is starting to become very real and that Bloodhound SSC no longer exists just on a computer screen.”